Thomas William Parks
1939 - 2020
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Thomas William Parks

Ithaca - On Thursday December 24, 2020 Thomas (Tom) W. Parks of Ithaca, NY passed away at the age of 81. He was born March 16, 1939 in Buffalo, NY son of Mildred W. and William K. Parks. He received the M.E.E. ('61), M.S. ('64) and Ph.D. ('67) degrees from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He was a professor in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University in Houston,TX from 1967-1986 and Cornell University from 1986 - 2008. He authored over 100 books and research papers in digital signal processing over the course of his career and received several notable awards for his work. He was a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a recipient of the prestigious IEEE Jack S. Kilby Gold Medal for his work on interpolation and the 'Parks-McClellan algorithm'. He was also awarded the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the Humboldt Foundation Senior Scientist Award, and a Senior Fulbright Fellowship. He also received the Rice University President's Award and two awards for teaching excellence while at Cornell. He was honored to be elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2010.

After his retirement, he enjoyed spending time with family and pursuing his many hobbies. He was an avid model airplane enthusiast and built and flew radio controlled planes with the Ithaca Radio Control Society. He was also a licensed ham radio operator. He made wine with local grapes each year with his family. He was a skilled potter and all family members continue to enjoy their morning coffee with one of Tom's mugs. He loved recreational boating from his home on Cayuga Lake windsurfing,kayaking and sailing.

He is survived by his beloved wife Martha B. Parks, sister Carol E Parks, three children and their spouses Thomas M. Parks (Beth), Alice Parks Sartain (Keith) and Susan E. Parks (Chris Junium) and seven grandchildren: William, Emily, Elizabeth, Sophie Sartain; Rachel and Ben Parks; and Charlie Junium

Funeral arrangements will be private.

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Published in Ithaca Journal from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by The Ithaca Journal
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9 entries
January 11, 2021
PhD students: Sergio Cabrera, Jim McClellan, Tom, Doug Jones, Faye Boudreaux-Bartels
Photo taken in 1999(?) of PhD students from the 70's.
Luck brought us together in 1970 at Rice. Looking back on it, Tom was the perfect PhD advisor for me. He generated lots of interesting research ideas that fueled our research. Tom's mentoring launched my career, and then he became a life-long friend as we collaborated on diverse projects with Schlumberger and Mathworks. In 1986 Carolyn and I traveled with Tom and Martha to China and Japan, and saw China when it was still bicycle-powered. After ICASSP-1997, we took a memorable road trip from Munich to Salzburg through the Bavarian Alps.
All these memories of Tom are sweet. May you rest in peace.
Jim McClellan
January 6, 2021
Tom Parks was a world-class researcher whose contributions are still fundamental to technologies used literally by billions of people every day. He was also a great mentor and model to me, both professionally and personally. His curiosity and openness to both new research areas and to real-world applications, and his unusual combination of confidence and humility in approaching them, are hallmarks of him that greatly influenced my approach to my own research and career, and to broader life. I am thus pleased, but not surprised, to learn of the many new activities he took up in his retirement.

Douglas L. Jones, Ph.D., Rice University 1987, Advisor TW Parks
Douglas Jones
January 5, 2021
We are very sorry to learn of Tom's passing. Our condolences to the entire family. May his light shine in your lives and fond memories lessen
your sorrow.
Dorian and Terry Fine
Dorian Fine
January 5, 2021
Prof. Parks was my Cornell advisor from 1997 to 2002. Career-wise, I owe him so much! He was incredibly good with providing intuitive explanations to complex mathematical problems. Thank you, Prof. Parks! Rest in Peace!
Darian Muresan
January 4, 2021
Dear Martha and Susan, I’m very sorry to read about Tom’s death. It sounds like he had a very enjoyable retirement but I’m sure that you miss him very much. I remember you both from our days in Girl Scouts. Barbara Stasavage( Maria’s mom)
Barbara Stasavage
January 2, 2021
Tom was my best friend. We played golf together when were supposed be in class. I got him to read Ben Hogan's book in 1964, He went from a 30 handicap down to 12.
I'll miss you Tom and you're in our prayers. This is a very sad day for me and Jeanie.
James Caprio
January 1, 2021
Tom was a creative, innovative scholar who was a delight to work with.
C. Sidney Burrus
January 1, 2021
Harry Nichols
December 25, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss, please accept my sincere condolences. May God bless you and give you strength and healing peace during your time of grief. He will be greatly missed.
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